While on Sickness Benefits

I sit by a river in Pembrokeshire
which is darker (so brown
and foul yet, cold-cosy, like childhood dreams)
than today’s dark discussion:
riverside weekly venting, becoming routine
for me and a friend, during our unemployment.
The walk back through town, up the High Street,
is the first cold day felt in a good while. It’s not
even humid like when it thundered last week. Now sat
at the top of town, on another patch
of grass; the nip of evening is felt earlier, her specs
start to fog up.
We are too poor. We can’t even sit outside anymore
with this change of season.With no change in our pockets
and with no reasonwe walk around Tesco, pretend-shopping
for the future, on a mid-week day, (no inkling for the future isn’t treason.) Oh
we miss alcoholic bever-
ages. Aisles of refrigerators
going on forever.



Helen Grant has been published in several magazines. She has been longlisted for The Live Canon 2019, shortlisted for The Mairtin Crawford 2019, and Creative Future Writer’s award 2020 and was a finalist in The League of Poets competition 2021.